Author: Ron Cross
Ron teaches technology classes and enjoys writing about it in his free time.
Home automation is a rapidly growing business with BBC Research predicting excess of $5.5 billion in market growth in 2016. You might already have home automation products you haven’t thought about like pet feeders, light timers and coffee makers that start when your alarm goes off. But expanding home automation is poised to turn your home into a well-run machine.
Get an entire home-automated package with a system like HAL (Home Automated Living). HAL enables homeowners log online to control their lights, security systems, appliances and thermostat. You can also control the system by voice or ask it to retrieve information. Unlike the iPhone’s Siri, HAL can actually bring back specific information on sport scores, the news and stock quotes.
Automate Your Security
If you have a house alarm, you’re already living in an automated world. But new security features detect threats from fire to medical emergencies, according to SecurityChoice.net. Monitored cameras can also alert you to potential threats and its footage can be used to help with arrests if a burglary occurs. Aside from threats, you can also program security cameras to see when the kids get home from school and review it for up to a month.
Photo by IntelFreePress via Flickr
Let Your Thermostat Figure it Out
Tired of forgetting to turn up or down your thermostat? Let a smart thermostat from Nest do it for you. Its Nest Thermostat knows how to adjust its own settings based on usage patterns. It figures out your schedule and can also be controlled from your smartphone. The company estimates it can lower your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.
Photo by Green Energy Futures via Flickr
Dominate your Appliances
If you keeping buying box after box of cereal or rice without realizing it until you get home, you’ll love a grocery automation manager. Samsung is showing off a fridge that tracks the food you still have and expiration dates of products. The fridge syncs up to Samsung’s smartphones so you can check what’s in your fridge while at the store and leave yourself a digital post-it note. You can also use your smartphone to turn on the dryer or see how much time is left in a load in the washer.
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Get Hot Water from the Fridge
Older family members might still recall how exciting it was when refrigerators dispensed ice on command. But now GE Appliances is introducing a Café French Door refrigerator that quickly heats up 10 ounces of water. No more waiting for the kettle or microwave to finish up heating your tea.
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Automate your Creativity
If you’ve been following stories on Microsoft’s House of the Future, you’ll know they kept their creative fans in mind. Digital frames can automatically swap out art to give your home a creative facelift. But they also envision a scenario where your child will want to get a bedtime story from grandma over a large screen. Unlike a simple Skype call, you can hold a stuffed animal up to the screen. The camera recognizes it and inserts it into the story. Now your child can sit back and watch as the story is animated onscreen.
Turn your Home into a Blockbuster Event
Home automation isn’t just for keeping your cooling bills low and figuring out what’s in your pantry. Luxury products like the $35,000 Prima Cinema brings an actual theater screen into your home and lets you see films the same day they hit the theaters. The movies download automatically to the screen with your fingerprint scan. Too bad they can’t pop fresh movie theater popcorn with a fingerprint scan too.